The Lake County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) met in Regular Session for its Organizational Meeting on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, at 9:00 a.m., in the Lake County Agricultural Center Auditorium, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were:  Jimmy Conner, Chairman, Lake County Board of County Commissioners.  Larry Metz was present from the Lake County School Board and Ralph Smith and William Walker were present as citizen members.  Others present were Leigh Tucker, VAB Counsel; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Kevin McDonald, Budget Officer, County Finance; Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office; Peter Peebles, Senior Supervisor, Property Appraiser’s Office; Robbie Ross,  Director of Tangible and Agricultural Properties, Property Appraiser’s Office; and Brenda Press, Deputy Clerk.

call to order

The Chairman called the meeting to order.

introduction of board members, clerk and attorney

Ms. Tucker stated that she would like the public in attendance today to know that this Organizational Meeting was directed by Rule 12D-9 and 12D-10 and that the Board members would introduce themselves at this time as follows:  Larry Metz, with the Lake County School Board; Jimmy Conner, County Commissioner; Will Walker, local resident member; Ralph Smith, local business owner – Lake Tire and Auto.  She stated that all the contact information for each member of the VAB could be found on the VAB website.  She commented that she is the legal counsel for the VAB until the end of September.  She remarked that her contact information is P. O. Box 801, Minneola, Florida 34755 (352) 394-3109.  She noted that the clerk of the VAB was also present at the meeting.


Ms. Tucker stated that the VAB had decided to renew the Contracts of the two Special Magistrates for Valuation Hearings and one attorney Special Magistrate for Classification and Exemption Hearings and asked that the Board ratify those Contracts.  She noted that the Contracts would be of record once they had been returned from the Special Magistrates.

On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Metz and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB ratified the Contracts of the Special Magistrates.

lake county adjustment board administrative code

Ms. Tucker noted that attached to the Agenda was the Lake County Value Adjustment Board Administrative Code, Florida State Resources, which reflects the websites to use to review the new rules that govern the Value Adjustment Board.  She noted that the Agenda was available to the public and that it was also on the website as indicated.  She mentioned that the information is also covered in Item 3 on the Agenda as well as all general information on Florida’s Property Tax System.  She stated that Special Magistrates hear the cases, and that the process used to get the cases before the Special Magistrates is available on the website.  She explained that the roles of the Special Magistrates are to make recommendations to the VAB and then the Board ratifies those recommendations by accepting or declining same.

approval of $15 filing fee for petitions

Ms. Tucker asked for approval of the $15 filing fee for each Petition and stated that they did not need a Resolution for approval as it could be approved by a motion.

The Chairman asked for a motion which was provided by Mr. Walker.  There being no second to the motion forthcoming immediately, the Chairman stated that the motion died for lack of a second.

Mr. Metz asked that Ms. Tucker brief them on the genesis of the request for a $15 filing fee and asked if this were a new fee.

Ms. Tucker stated that the $15 fee was prescribed by Rule 12D-9 and 12D-10 and noted that the VAB has never been asked to approve this in prior years.  She explained that the Legislature and their Rules Committee has made this decision and that the fee needs to be adopted today by the VAB.  She went on to say that this is a not a new fee, it is the same as last year, but the Rules require the Board to adopt the fee each year at their Organizational Meeting.

Mr. Walker made a motion to approve the $15 filing fee which was seconded by Mr. Metz.

Under discussion, Mr. Metz stated that he would like to make it clear that based on the discussion that occurred that this fee is something the VAB must do under the Rule promulgated in the Florida Administrative Code, Rule 12D-9 and 12D-9 and that the fee amount is the same as has been traditionally charged for the VAB process for many years.  He noted that the fee was not being increased by this action.

Mr. Smith commented that it was his understanding from Mr. Metz’ remarks, that this fee must be approved.

Ms. Tucker responded by stating that the Organizational Meeting requires that this fee be approved.

Mr. Smith remarked that if they chose not to approve the fee then this fee would no longer be in effect nor would it be in effect either way.

Ms. Tucker stated that if it were not approved, they would be unable to carry out their VAB process which the Florida Administrative Code dictates.

Commr. Conner explained that the Board would have to adopt this fee under Florida Administrative Rule.

Mr. Smith questioned why they were voting on it.

After further discussion, Commr. Conner asked that they close the discussion.

Ms. Barbara Lehman reported that last year the VAB incurred expenses of approximately $52,000 and collected approximately $15,000.

The Chairman asked for a vote on the motion to approve the $15 filing fee, which carried by a 3-1 vote.  Mr. Smith voted “No.”


Ms. Tucker reviewed the Proposed Schedule for 2010-11 which was presented to the Board members.  She explained that last year Special Magistrate Denise Lyn heard exemption hearings and noted that those agricultural classification hearings were to be heard by Ms. Lyn this year on October 8, 2010.  The remainder of Ms. Lyn’s hearings on October 20, 2010 and October 21, 2010, do not involve agricultural exemptions.  She commented that the late petition determinations from Ms. Lyn were due by September 8, 2010.  She remarked that last year it was determined that it was more appropriate for Ms. Lyn, rather than VAB Counsel, to make determinations whether or not there was good cause for late filing.  She explained that Special Magistrate valuation hearings, which were the vast majority of the cases, were scheduled for the end of October and noted that they would like to have all their VAB rulings by December.  She commented that any backup petitions that were decided to be remanded would be heard in January 2011.  She stated that they hoped to certify the tax roll by January.

Commr. Conner asked, for scheduling purposes, if the Board would meet on October 8, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. and informed the Board that he would be out-of-State from December 1, 2010, through December 6, 2010.

Ms. Tucker took note of Commr. Conner’s calendar and stated that the next meeting would probably not occur until mid-December.

Mr. Metz commented that this was his last VAB Meeting because his term with the School Board ends November 2, 2010.  He remarked that Ms. Debbie Stivender, School /Board Member, requested that her status as an alternate VAB Member be changed to a full member position.  He requested staff keep Ms. Stivender apprised of all scheduling matters.  He noted that the official appointment may not be made until after the fact, but until that time she would attend the meetings as an alternate.

Commr. Conner stated that it has been an honor to serve with Mr. Metz and that he has done an excellent job.  He also commended Ms. Tucker for a job well done.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the VAB, the meeting was adjourned at 9:18 a.m.